I've been combing the forums for a few days trying to figure out my best solution. I think I've got a decent one maybe, but I'm looking for any input from the knowledgeable persons that inhabit these forums because I'm fairly newbish when it comes to audio. :)
I'll start by describing my situation.
Source material: mostly classical and jazz, with some eclectic indie rock with most files being Lame V2/192 vbr files(I found that I can't really tell a difference with anything higher especially with my equipment, hopefully that doesn't come back to burn me in the future if my ears mature)
Equipment Setup: Currently I have my laptop's built-in sound going to my receiver, (via mini to stereo rca cable from monoprice), which is an onkyo tx-8522 2-channel going to old B&W bookshelf speakers and an old yamaha sub.
I'm also fairly set on ordering the AD700's for night time listening and because I think they will be an improvement over the B&W speakers and my crappy plantronics 777 headphones which weren't really meant for music.
I am unsatisfied with the quality of this connection vs. my cd player to stereo, but I do not own a large amount of albums on cd, my library is mostly digital and therefore I'm looking for a better quality connection to my low-end receiver. I mostly notice the lack of detail in complex sections, everything just sounds mixed together and the highs and lows just don't sound right. I also dislike the random noise that gets introduced, especially when I'm using the computer and listening to music.
My thinking is it is just mostly the source connection rather than any other link of the chain, so I want to get something like the Clip+ and hook it directly to the receiver. I don't want to spend a huge amount of money, so I'm trying to take the path that will get me the most bang for my buck.
Will I see a decent improvement in sound quality with the Clip+ to stereo connection? And will using the Headphone jack on my stereo bring out more in the AD700's vs plugging into an mp3 player(I couldn't find an output rating for the onkyo jack anywhere)? Or would getting a dedicated headphone amp be worth it?
My thinking is that a $50 mp3 player and the $87 headphones will improve my sound quality a lot more than anything else I could put my money into, plus I'll have an mp3 player besides the one on my phone. I know my receiver's Headphone jack isn't as good as a dedicated amp, but is it maybe ~75% as good compared to just from the mp3 player? And getting an external sound card and DAC would probably be great as well, but again I think the mp3 player might be ~75% as good and for way less cost.
I know I'm not much of an audiophile, I just enjoy music. I'd like to have as near to the cd quality sound I currently have, but with the ease of a digital library. I could probably go through and burn my whole library to cd's and that would work, but that's just a huge PITA!
Anyways, does anyone see any holes in my thought process or have I left out any other solutions that might work? Any input is appreciated. Thanks!